Ennis ends the series, his summing up of Butcher, with a quote from Unforgiven. He also includes a reference to himself in the comic, apparently when he was trying to get work at the superhero companies back in the eighties.
Anyway, ending on a quote from Unforgiven just shows how little Ennis cares about this comic. I knew he didn’t care when he totally skipped over a Boys version of Spider-Man, which would have been awesome… at least if Ennis had been doing it towards the beginning of the run, before he’d lost interest.
What’s so amazing about the quote–I had other complaints, but it really overshadows them–is how it forces a comparison between the work Ennis has done and the work the movie’s done. And Ennis hasn’t done any work.
It’s easily the lamest thing I’ve ever seen him do. It’s stunningly incompetent, desperate and unprofessional.
Everyone of You Sons of Bitches; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Mallory shows up–the first time Robertson has drawn him–and the series becomes about what I expected in the second half. Sadly the first half mostly consists of Butcher reading his wife’s diary where she talks about the Homelander attacking her.
The diary goes on and on for pages. Not sure why Ennis thinks anyone would believe Mrs. Butcher had no idea what Butcher saw in her, which is how he ends the diary reading. It’s like he had the diary as one thing and then the character in two issues of the comic as someone else entirely. It’s weak writing.
The finish, with Butcher on his first mission for Mallory, is pretty good stuff. It’s Robertson doing something more akin to regular Boys, which is nice. Candlestickmaker hadn’t been giving him exercise lately. This issue lets him shine.
Still, it’s unclear why Ennis needed more than two issues.
Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
I have to give it to Ennis, he does come up with one hectic of a death scene for Butcher’s wife. I always assumed it was something similar to Hughie’s but no. Ennis and Robertson pace that sequence beautifully. The way Ennis gets there though, it has some problems.
One of the things Butcher does, regardless of its problems, is bring the reader out of the Boys universe. It’s Margaret Thatcher, it’s Falklands War, it’s real. Bringing in the superheroes at the end without any context… it’s jarring and it reminds the reader Ennis is just doing this series to cash in. It also appears the two things can’t exist at once; Ennis has never textured his scenes in the the regular series like he does here.
There’s not much else to say about the issue. The death of the brother is really contrived. It’s a cheap, somewhat effective issue.
The Last Time to Look On This World of Lies; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Why am I reading this comic? It’s a family drama this issue–oh, wait, Butcher meets the greatest woman in the world and she totally changes his life with her patience and inner beauty. Of course her death would send him over the cliff–she doesn’t die here, it’s way too soon, but I do think Ennis has established she does die.
It’s like a happy scene in a soap opera, page after page, over and over again. Ennis is completely incapable of writing these scenes honestly. I wonder if he had someone give him a list of trite romantic blather for them to recite.
Even Robertson has checked out a little. Drawing talking heads for terrible dialogue must have been annoying.
There’s not a good or honest moment in the entire issue. I kind of don’t want to read any more of it. I’ve entirely lost interest in Butcher.
It Must Be Love, Love, Love; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
This issue is a bit of a summary nightmare. The opening stuff with the Falklands is okay, though Ennis has covered a lot of the same territory with Born. Butcher turns out to be a natural born killer, which should get him in more trouble than it does–and it might even do so, but Ennis falls back on summary for the last half of the issue.
When his family–not the dad though–shows up in the last few pages, I’d forgotten they were still around, like maybe they’d died at some point between the first and second issues and Ennis just forgot to cover it.
As always, the war history stuff is decent. It’s not great because it does center around Butcher and Ennis is trying to make it all fit together, but it’s decent.
With the Robertson art, the issue’s rather digestible, just not filling at all.
Harriet; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Besides the vaguely obviously device of Butcher narrating his tale to his dead father (in his casket, no less), Garth Ennis does a fairly decent job with this issue. In some ways, leaving Butcher a mystery–instead of giving him Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker (way too cute)–would have been better. However, given Ennis opens with Falklands War and then goes back to Butcher’s childhood in the seventies? It works.
Ennis’s big problem with The Boys is his lack of interest. He had a gimmick, he got tired of it, but he didn’t create characters strong enough to support a series without continuously imaginative plotting. Butcher, for example, is a caricature. Ennis hasn’t even given him generic details. So Candlestickmaker is actually something entirely new.
Darick Robertson (late of the regular series) returns; he does an outstanding job doing domestic turmoil and urban squalor.
It’s good, with no right to be.
Bomb Alley; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
It’s a religious cult mystery, along with some teenage lovers–one being the daughter of Jennifer’s friend. Barr doesn’t pause on his contrivances (it’s not just the daughter, but also Gabe’s religious history), just moves full steam ahead.
Only the setting is terrible and the characters all act really dumb. Maybe not Gabe and Jennifer, but the daughter gets busted running around with her boyfriend and her parents stay in the woods, which causes the rest of the issue’s events. It’s way too easy.
There’s a little character stuff between Gabe and Jennifer, only their romance has become boring. Barr doesn’t seem to have any long-term plots for them anymore. They’re boring.
Darick Robertson–a young Darick Robertson–does the art. He’s got ambitious panel composition, but no level of detail. With better art, the issue might pass easier, but it’s still not much good.
Maze’s on the skids.
Terrible Swift Sword; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Darick Robertson; inkers, Jim Sinclair and Keith Aiken; colorist, Susan Glod; letterer, Vickie Williams; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.
Robertson has help on the art from Richard P. Clark. Not sure it’s actually help, given there are some really weak panels. Especially towards the end.
Yeah, so… the end of Super Duper arc. Ennis introduces the ultra violence of The Boys into the Super Duper household and it terrifies the kids. Butcher terrifies the kids, almost as much as the villain does.
And it might show the problem with this approach in the series. Ennis never really spends time with real people–at least not ones with real emotions–and so, when he does, it breaks the way the comic works.
There’s some ominous stuff and the end and a big internal argument over the way the Boys work, but it’s not enough to make the arc seem worthwhile. Ennis just had to resolve Butcher’s suspicions about Hughie; he came up with a lame way to play it out.
The Innocents, Part Three; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, Darick Robertson and Richard P. Clark; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Butcher’s suspicions–instead of him just resolving them–play out with spying and so on. It makes him less of a character. Ennis is now playing him for laughs. It’s a very strange misfire.
The best scene in the comic isn’t actually with any of the Boys. Well, except a funny flashback. Otherwise, the best scene is when the sincere den mother of Super Duper talks down the team’s new leader. Ennis is actually really good at sincerity, though he seems embarrassed about it.
Also trying is all the dating stuff with Annie and Hughie. Way to suck the life out of the characters. She’s thinking of quitting and is now boring. Hughie’s just his regular wholesome self, which is similarly boring.
The arc isn’t shaping up well. Ennis would have done better with just a Super Duper limited series. They’re a whole lot more interesting than a suspicious Butcher.
The Innocents, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Ennis takes the Butcher finding out about Hughie and Annie thing in an unexpected direction. It makes Butcher suspicious Hughie’s a double agent, which leads to a couple lengthy talking heads scenes of Hughie being normal and Butcher being suspicious.
The first such scene is fine. The second’s practically unbearable. It just goes on and on.
There’s also some stuff with the bad corporate guys talking about the Homelander. Ennis is setting up for something big down the line and not being coy about it.
And he introduces another super team–Super Duper. They’re his riff on the original Legion of Super-Heroes. Lame powers, innocent minds.
There’s not much to the issue. The Super Duper heroes are apparently sweet, Butcher is suspicious–he talks to the Legend about it for another lengthy talking heads scene–and so on… but Ennis really doesn’t do anything.
His plotting seems checked out.
The Innocents, Part One; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
The annual has three stories. The first has Rick Magyar, Darick Robertson and William Messner-Loebs illustrating a Spirit homage. It’s a lot of fun; Barr’s script for it is very fast. Gabe’s on a mission, runs into Jennifer, both having Spirit references in their appearance. It’d be impossible to tell the story without the art angle. Very nice opening.
Sadly, the second story just goes on and on. Allen Curtis is a mediocre artist and Barr asks him to do a lot. The mystery involves a corpse in a moving box. It takes forever to get going, then Barr rushes the big finale. Curtis doesn’t draw characters distinctly enough; two suspects look exactly the same, making the end confusing.
The last story–with Adam Hughes pencils and Magyar inks–is a reprint of a convention special. The mystery’s solution is confounding, but the excellent art makes up for it.
A Night at the Rose Petal; artists, Rick Magyar, Darick Robertson and William Messner-Loebs; colorists, Michelle Basil and Susan Glod; letterer, Vickie Williams. Moving Stiffs; penciller, Allen Curtis; inkers, Keith Aiken and Jim Sinclair; colorists, Basil and Glod; letterer, Williams; Murder in Mint Condition; penciller, Adam Hughes; inker, Magyar; colorist, Glod; letterer, Bob Pinaha. Writer, Mike W. Barr; editors, Michael Eury and David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.
Lots of jokes for the Female’s origin too. Frenchie has to tell it to Hughie, but there’re a few implications it’s an accurate retelling.
Ennis plays it for violence and for laughs. The Female ingests the superhero juice as a baby, which leads to her being a caged killing machine from birth. She escapes, learns of the world, gets recaptured. During one of those outings, Ennis does an homage to Aliens with one of the fire team repeating all of Bill Paxton’s memorable lines.
He opens the issue with humor too, about the Female’s family history. Those parts are probably the best, as Ennis is examining the nature of the origin story and its uses. It gets one in the right mindset to digest the issue.
There’s some great gross art from Robertson–I don’t think the Female’s methods have been visualized before–and an unexpected, solid ending.
The Instant White-Hot Wild; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Ennis tells Frenchie’s story, which he does mostly for laughs. Robertson gets the humor well–the setting, a tranquil French village, helps a lot.
There aren’t any surprises–Hughie even goes so far as to doubt its veracity–and only a couple real standouts. The first is short but awesome. As Frenchie recounts a touching summer love affair, Robertson’s art shows its baser reality. Might also be funnier because Frenchie’s mom and dad are in the room.
The second bit comes at the end, a little in-joke for Ennis readers. He repeats a moment from “Preacher,” only this time the Frenchman is the good guy and the American is the bad.
It’s a cute little done-in-one but there’s really nothing to it. Frenchie’s comic relief and Ennis doesn’t try to stretch him into something else. Ennis doesn’t even take the time to properly wrap up the flashback.
La Plume De Ma Tante Est Sue La Table; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
Once again, Ennis avoids the big question the flashback raises. Hughie and Mother’s Milk are still talking–I think Hughie went for coffee–and there’s a bit more back story. Not a lot. Ennis skips about fourteen years. He does get in a big fight scene, which Robertson draws quite well.
But the issue–as none of the Mother’s Milk stuff really matters–is about the plans to put up the Freedom Tower in New York. Or whatever it’s going to be called. Ennis is using The Boys to talk about it being a dumb idea; given the last page, one would assume he’d go for rebuilding the World Trade Center.
As Brad Pitt once put it… “But you make it one floor taller.”
It’s an interesting use of a periodical and a love letter to New York City from an aficionado. Shame there isn’t a compelling story too.
Nothing Like It In The World, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.